Monday, April 30, 2007

Remembering Uncle Fred

Uncle Fred, or Mr Fred Sabapathy, who founded Bethesda Frankel Estate Church, passed away last Thursday morning.

I'm not quite sure how old he was, but he certainly was a survivor, having lived through three heart attacks in 1978 and two years ago. Being rather new to this church, my only interaction with Uncle Fred was in Dylan's baby dedication on February 11 this year - his final one before his passing.

Uncle Fred's a familiar face at every baby dedication - and he makes it a point to lecture the parents on the significance of the event. That it isn't as much about commending our son to God, but as a declaration before the assembly that we, as husband and wife before the Lord, solemnly promise to bring this baby up in a Christian way.

So here's a picture of Dylan being dedicated - and a view of Uncle Fred, sadly his face is obscured:


That day, there were I think 10 or 11 babies, and Dylan was the very youngest at a wee 1.5 months old -

At his wake on Friday night, I had the privilege of singing a lovely chorus that anyone who knows him will recall as his very favourite little ditty.

It goes like this:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name!
Master, Saviour, Jesus,
Like the fragrance after the rain.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Let all heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there's something about that name!

What touched me, personally, about this man was how well beloved he was, through his loving God's people. "Like the fragrance after the rain", this man's life has left a lasting fragrance on the people whom he's touched in his lifetime.

When I pass away, how lovely it would be if I can also leave this lingering fragrance upon those who know me. The rain may pass, but when the sun comes out again, the joy lingers on.


Here's something for mommies. A friend of mine, Louisa, struck upon a brilliant idea for nursing moms. A fashionable nursing poncho that can be used for discreet feeding in public, as a blanket or a simple fashion statement too.

She's also put up useful bite-sized tips and tools for mommies on her website, on baby products that she's tried out and works for her little one.

Check out her website:


Today, we go off to rehearse the wedding of friends who will wed this Saturday. Elroy's down (again!) with a bad bout of fever and cough, let's pray that the little one is protected against the flu bug!

Friday, April 27, 2007

That invisible cord

Little Dylan turned four months on Wednesday.

That also marks the fourth month for me post-natally, a milestone many associate with a return to physical health. I remember walking into a Pilates class 6-weeks post-partum at True Yoga, and being told by the instructor that I need to wait till at least 16-weeks post-partum before taking on any "core" strength building exercises.

Physically, I do feel fitter now, especially after E and I started doing 7km runs to East Coast and back. But a lower-back pain plagues me, a consistent ache I feel most acutely when I arch backwards and twist sideways. Some say this is the work of epidural, but I put it down to poor feeding and carrying postures.

Four more days and this milestone will concretise when I return to work. Yet, four months after the umbilical cord's been cut, I feel the tug of an invisible cord still, and I truly fear that I'll have major adjustment problems.

You see, for nine months this baby's survival and sustenance came entirely from the amniotic environment within me. For the first two- three months, I was still his major source of food and comfort.

Now that we've moved back, and the grandparents are taking a much more active role in his care and upbringing, and I feel as though I've fallen by the wayside, somewhat. It's not a good feeling.

I think Freud had his finger on the pulse when he theorised that a big part of man's Id (Ego) identity stems from his relationship with the mother, and the tensions in dealing with the conflicting emotions of needing to nurse and needing to be weaned off it.

As a mother, it is so easy to want to feel good about this special relationship, but I think it can also become an emotional stronghold that can put a barrier in our relationship with our spouses, other care-givers, and especially God.

There's no doubt about it, nursing a baby at the breast feels great. Here's a baby that seeks my warmth, my sustenance, desires me, needs me.

Having to put aside this privilege, and acknowledge that the little one equally needs his father, his other care-givers, the grandpa and grandma undermines this monopoly.

These thoughts came to me last night while I lie sleepless in bed. I think the real challenge for me is to remember, once again, that this whole process shouldn't be about me, but about God - His good and perfect will for this child that He's entrusted to us.

I wondered what it must have been like for the blessed Mary as she nursed little baby Jesus, and how she too, must have wondered at the awesome immensity of caring for one who is far greater than her, and yet so helpless at the same time.

A friend recently commented that there must be a reason why human babies, compared with animals, are the most hapless and helpless of the lot. He felt that babies are given so that God teaches adults patience and humility about the fragility of life.

For me, having this child is frustrating, humbling, and the most amazing experience ever.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

At the beach


Last week, we took a short break from the big move to spend a morning at the beach with WK and little Noah. WK, like me, was going back to work and we thought we should have breakfast at the beach on a weekday morning one final time.

A little luxury that we indulge ourselves in while the rest of the working world shuffle off to their offices.

The sun was out in full tropical blast, and we took the opportunity to protect Dylan's little head with a cap that my dad bought in Segamat couple of weekends back:


Noah, who's 18 months, picked me as his playmate for the day. He came up to me each time, grabbed hold of my hand and led me to his little patch of sand. There's something so innocent and winsome about the way this little child endears himself to you, with his eyes full of expectation of nothing less that full compliance on my part. All I do is be led away, and follow.


Here are the pictures of us with the little one:

Final week and counting

It's been a while since my last post - sometimes the business of living so quickly overtakes my days that it's tempting to just put a halt on the business of reflecting, writing, and sharing.

But the little sms-es, emails and remarks from friends remind me and encourage me to continue writing. And share the turpitudes of being a home-bound mom who's counting the days she has left before returning to the work.

I wonder if there is any irony in going back to work on 2 May, a day after Labour Day!

We've moved back from Seng Kang back to my inlaws'. It's pretty incredible how much stuff one accumulates in the two years we stayed there - E calls them "junk".

But for me, these are the everyday objects that make home home - our framed-up photos, the fridge magnets, bottles of handwash brought back from the States that we've not been able to use. You can tell who - between us - is the thrower and who the hoarder!

We spent two weeks packing them up into boxes or throwing stuff away - to my anguish the exercise also meant discarding old shoes, clothes I've grown out of post-natally, and handbags that will find no storage space here at Woo Mon Chew Road.

I guess I'm still coping with the idea that with the move, we're also surrendering certain rights, living and personal spaces, and the little dignities that go with them. Such as walking to the next room naked to grab that towel, such as singing at the top of my voice, and playing completely silly to entertain little Dylan.

What exacerbates this sense of being cramped in, is how little space there is for my stuff in E's room. Poor thing - this room was meant for their son, with its single double-door wardrobe and study desk. And now the space will have to contain his wife and baby, and their barang barang too.

Just imagine - the upgrade from a single bed to a queen-sized one, making room also for a convertible cot, a three-drawer chest from Ikea and a rack for clothes that just can't be squeezed in the wardrobe.

On the upside, our stuff which used to fit in a three-bedroom apartment are now mostly in this room, and that makes getting them pretty convenient. Not to mention cosy.

Seriously, I do enjoy the closeness and intimacy - nevermind the fact that E woke up halfway through the other night feeling "too hemmed-in" from sleeping on the inside, next to the wall, so it's easier for me to climb out of bed for Dylan's night feeds.

There are other pluses that we're counting our blessings for:
- Dylan's grandfolks are just delighted and can't wait to take him over in the mornings.
- We're a 5-minute drive away from ECP for a run or a blading session.
- We're THAT much closer to town, and when I go back to work, this translates to major savings in petrol.

On that first point above, I hate to admit this but I find myself getting insanely jealous when Dylan gets to spend hours on end in grandma and grandpa's room.

Ostensibly, it will help him cope better when I return to work, when spending time with the folks becomes de rigeur.

But I struggle to contain my annoyance when grandpa goes to fetch that formula-bottle without consulting me, when I'm physically there and able to nurse him.

Again, I tell myself that Dylan must be used to the bottle, and in the days I don't express enough, his grandparents must exercise their right to give him the care he needs, whether its in bottle feeding formula, or in comforting him.

So I hold back when I hear him crying in their room, even though I know he could well be pining for mommy.

God's dealing with me through this, I know. I've got to let go of this 4-month-old, let go the sadness of knowing that I'll miss at least some of his next learning milestones, this little bundle who is growing cuter every day, smiling and squealing more as each day passes.